Updating OP5T to new Pie build

This post relates my long - for me as I don’t flash my phone everyday - and not very easy update of my OnePlus5T device from the previous oreo build to the new (and current dev version) pie build. As I had previously installed a new TWRP recovery to flash new firmware a few months ago, I realised there was probably going to be a problem as other users pointed out that the 3.4.0-0 version (although specifically recommended on the TWRP site for dumpling) does not like the e-0.12 zip packages.

However I went ahead with flashing the the latest firmware_10.0.0-H1_oneplus5T.zip which gave me a smiley android face on the bootloader screen but caused no problems on reboot. Then I decided to try removing the PIN protection on the welcome screen to see if this would cause a problem with my TWRP recovery which asks for this to decrypt the user partitions. To my surprise it must have recognised I had no PIN protection and in decrypted with no problem, so having overcome this hurdle I decided to go ahead with the upgrade procedure recommended on the e.community site.

I formatted the data partition and then did the factory reset wipe ignoring the warnings that this would totally remove my old /e/ system. I had some problems which I’ll write about in another entry getting adb properly set up on my Debian PC. Finally when the adb server recognised my device I launched the sideload of the latest Pie update for my dumpling device. Needless to say it failed, ending with the well-known “error 7”, so I then decided to try loading the zip file via OTG on a USB stick and flashing it using my TWRP revovery. This ended with another error and now I started to worry that I would end up with a bricked device.

Having read on the X-developers site that codeworkx had produced a new recovery version twrp-3.3.1 to be used with the latest firmware I decided to flash this onto my device using fastboot. No problem, big sigh of relief and I could boot back into this revovery to start the updating procedure again, enabling sideload to be able to connect to my PC.

The sideload operation started slowly with a long wait for the percentage figures to arrive at almost 50 percent and suddenly it ended with

Total xfer: 1.01x

And another huge sigh of relief that it had completed the transfer successfully.

On reboot there was the usual series of setup screens for the /e/ system which completed with no problem, but then I realised that I had a totally empty sdcard/ partition and so would have to rely on my backups to get everything running as before. I realised this meant spending the best part of a day to reconfigure everything.

I had read the long series of exchanges following the new HOWTO by @manoj on Backup & Restore Data on Android Devices, and so I had already done a complete nandroid backup using my first version of TWRP and copied everything onto a USB stick in case the update failed and I had to go back to my previous oreo version. However, the factory reset by reformatting all of the data/ partition erases all data on the sdcard as well and apparently this is not part of the normal nandroid backup, so if I had only this backup to rely on I could have resored my old operating system but with none of my personal data, so this is not a reliable complete backup!

In the end the only solution that helped me to get back to a dependable mobile for everyday use (so far!) was to have manually saved almost all I had used before to my PC and USB stick using Titanium Backup among other utilities. In conclusion I would say that this experience has shown that there has to be a simpler, more specific tool built for the /e/ OS devices to enable upgrades that are less daunting for ordinary users. Let’s hope that the developers can produce an in-house recovery tool that avoids the difficulties I encountered or at least makes a change of Android version a less formidable experience.

Regain your privacy! Adopt /e/ the unGoogled mobile OS and online servicesphone

Thanks for the detailed feedback @Grendel
The inhouse recovery tool option is definitely the one option we should be seriously looking at. We have started work on an eRecovery which is in its initial stage of development. In its present form it is only available with Q builds. There is a long way for the development to go. Having a reliable backup and recovery option to it will definitely be a great feature.

Just a quick addition to my post on updating my OP5T to pie. The Version Upgrade post I refer to is here.
I forgot to link this in my above post. Hope it helps others as my upgraded OnePlus 5T now is working well and very responsive. Big thanks to /e/ developers :+1:

Insight into the next generation of /e/ OS ‘Q’: e-0.13-q-20201115-UNOFFICIAL-dumpling by @itsclarence

Thanks for the heads-up. As I don’t live in the UK I don’t need the latest MicroG version which you mention is installed in @itsclarence unofficial upgrade to the Q android. The Covid app here in France is simpler to run and for the moment I think I’ll stay with my Pie version to be able to have OTA updates. Running an unofficial version would mean another long re-installation procedure which I feel like doing for now. Thanks all the same.